Having shaken off the shadow of the Maybes?, Getintothis’ Mike Doherty talks to GIT Award nominees The Tea Street Band and finds a collective spirit revitalised, ready to push the sonic boundaries – and start the party.
Let’s dispense with the elephant in the room straight off.
Much of the faces in the Tea Street Band‘s line up you will be familiar with from their days as the cult should’ve-beens The Maybes?.
Here was a band adored by much of the music-loving Liverpool public, who similarly caught the attention of A&Rs up and down the country – yet on the cusp of making it, things went, by the band’s own admission, spectacularly wayward.
Thankfully, for everyone’s sake, much of that original line up regrouped, reworked, rewired and returned with an armoury of sonic bliss – and most importantly – a structure which was hitherto missing from their first incantation: The Tea Street Band was born.
With music ranging from up-tempo electronic music with elements of Stone Roses baggy-ism and acid house raves, The Tea Street Band, are as Nicholas Otaegui explains: ‘First and foremost we’re alternative.
‘It’s vague enough to mean a lot of things. Then there’s dance, pop, house, indie. We’re indie house dance pop, if you want that one!‘
A shared love of rave culture is present in their largely instrumental output – it’s soaring, distinctly Balearic and sounds as much European as it is rooted in English rock and roll.
Otaegui describes their sound as something he’s not heard before; ‘It’s a sound you only get with us… We’re still finding our feet in terms of production, how we want to be perceived and what we feel is the Tea Street Band‘s sound on record.
‘We want to work with different producers, find different styles, produce it as live as possible and find out what works.‘
This fusion of dance, pop and rock and roll, naturally lends itself to late night rave culture, and with the band’s solid foundation secured as a must-see live draw, it leads to the obvious question of whether they prefer playing late-night shows?
‘Yeah, we need to get the setting right. We’ve been doing our own warehouse raves to coincide with that, to create the right atmosphere that fits to the music,‘ Otaegui said.
‘Along with the right DJ’s, the right visuals, right location. Much like a post-modern twist on acid house culture.‘
What that live sound will be is quite broad. In 2009, when The Maybes? came to an end, James Albertina and Timo Tierney were writing songs together and experimenting with drum pads, samplers and sequencers.
‘The songs sounded like a nice departure from the old sound,’ Otaegui tells us.
‘I love different sorts of music and genre and we’ve always enjoyed playing music together. We’re good mates and have known each other for a long time, well over a decade.‘
Their first gig was in 2010 and they have played various high profile support slots since then with the likes of Tom Vek and A Flock of Seagulls.
However, their live shows have been few and far between of late. Recording new material has been their main priority; and those fruits will be for all to see at the GIT Award show on April 27 at Leaf.
‘We’ve been recording a lot of pre-production work for an album we’ve got in the pipelines. We’ve been getting together and writing a lot of songs arranging them and planning out the formula of the album, figuring out the foundations of it.‘
While they were completely surprised to be nominated for the inaugural GIT Award, they are none the less delighted, especially given the range of fellow Liverpool artists among the shortlist.
Otaegui added: ‘It’s nice to be nominated for anything based on our musical output. (We’re fans of) the other nominees; Outfit, Bill Ryder-Jones and Stealing Sheep, so it’s good to be in such company.”
What do you think of the GIT Award?
Otaegui said: ‘I think it’s good for a few reasons. It’s good to celebrate Liverpool music and what’s going on in a contemporary state, and it’s good to have the right forum to recognise talent.
‘If it’s an annual occasion, all the better. It can only be as good as the Liverpool bands, it’s good to have a competition like this if it reaches out and gives exposure.‘
Who are we to argue.
The Tea Street Band‘s debut single Fiesta release party is on April 21, click here for details.
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Getintothis on the Tea Street Band.
Getintothis on The Maybes?